Feeding the Hungry

The NY Common Pantry sent me a tax receipt letter for $270 in donations to this nonprofit in 2020.

The meals I bought for people in need I hadn’t realized would total over $200 in 7 months.

I did this via “buying” two $5 donations when I ordered groceries via FreshDirect each week. One $5 donation provides 4 pantry meals for a person in need.

Beto O’Rourke in the article I link to at the end of this blog entry wrote with two other authors that expanding and fortifying the food stamps / SNAP benefits program is cost-effective.

Whereas forcing people to use food pantries is wasteful.

O’Rourke and the two other authors’ rationale for the beauty of the SNAP program makes perfect sense to me.

For now I’m OK with donating money for meals to NY Common Pantry.

It’s because in our right-wing political climate nothing has been “right” in terms of fostering social justice.

50 million Americans are estimated to live with food insecurity.

Since Mr. Toupee (my nickname for the former president) and his ilk were keen only to tamp down on programs that benefit citizens in economic need I think my funding of the food bank is an OK stopgap measure for now.

I had no idea that my weekly donations would add up so high so quickly.

In the time of the pandemic I’ve had a refrigerator bursting with food.

I’m able-bodied and strong enough to have carried home from a market 50-pound bags of groceries when I couldn’t get an online food delivery.

Now that LL Cool Joe (my nickname for Joe Biden) takes office I pray that real lasting effective change comes to our country.

No American should go hungry. No American should live in poverty.

The article about the rationale of expanding the SNAP benefits is here:

Food Stamp / Snap Benefits Article

2020 SNAP Challenge

In 2018 and 2019 the Beyond Hunger organization hosted SNAP challenges.

A person who was well-off was challenged to use the customary SNAP benefit to buy food for one week.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is commonly called by its former name: food stamps.

The most recent challenge allocated participants to use $31.22 per person per week for 7 days total.

That comes out to about $4.46 per person per day.

Some rules apply:

The food cannot be bought at big box retailer like Costco or Sam’s Club.

You can use your own condiments and spices.

In most regards other than these two rules you must make do on $31.22 as one person for 7 days.

I’m not going to be able to meet this standard for a number of reasons:

First I have groceries ordered from FreshDirect which doesn’t accept SNAP benefits for payment.

Second the standard is impossible to live up to when you want to eat healthful food.

As it is for my lunch at my job I spend about $5.00 per day on food from a deli counter at a market.

This food is often a half-pound of beet salad or a Sicilian tomato-and-0nion salad or a container of soup.

The point is that people in America are going hungry.

I order 2 $5 donations–$10 total–with my groceries order so that the NY Common Pantry can give 4 pantry meals each to two people.

I have been “buying” this donation with my groceries since the start of June.

FreshDirect employees package the food and help deliver the boxes to people in need in New York City.

This as a humanitarian response to the food insecurity individuals started to face during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As a modified version of the SNAP challenge I’m going to photograph and document in the blog how I spent $29.99–$30 dollars in effect–on food this week.

The fact is–regardless of anyone’s political persuasion–we cannot continue to rob Americans living in poverty of their right to have enough money to buy food.

That people go hungry is a crime.

Again–giving every American a Universal Basic Income of $1,000 per month–would go a long way in terms of food justice.

Andrew Yang–who dropped out of the Democratic race for president–was my choice because his policy platform included a Universal Basic Income.